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  5. How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

Have you ever wondered if you're washing your hair too often? While washing it regularly is essential, very frequent hair wash sessions can also have adverse effects on your scalp and hair.

"Though hair wash is the most fundamental part of personal hygiene, not every hair type requires washing the same number of times in a week,’’ says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.

In this article, we are here to help you figure out what is the right frequency to wash your hair.

Is It Bad To Wash Your Hair Everyday?

Your scalp skin contains billions of good bacteria and fungi from more than 1000 species. The collection of these microbes is called the microbiome [1], which competes with bad bacteria for the nutrients on your scalp. Also, they prevent the colonization of bad bacteria by releasing antibiotics, thus, maintaining your scalp pH.

"Cleansing your scalp with harsh hair products every day may disrupt your scalp's microbiome. This leads to the dominating growth of bad bacteria and fungi that cause inflammation along with a variety of scalp problems,’’ says Dr. Zeel.

Does Washing Your Hair Every Day Cause Hair Loss?

It is normal to lose 50-100 hair strands a day as part of your natural hair growth cycle. But, if you notice more hair fall while you are shampooing every day, then it is a matter of concern.

Your scalp produces natural oils that act as a protective layer against external damaging factors such as UV radiation [2], pollution [3], extreme temperatures, etc. Over-washing your hair may strip off your scalp oils, which leads to extreme dryness of your scalp and hair. This can make your hair strands more susceptible to breakage and falling out.

"Also, the heat-styling tools you use every day after your hair wash worsens the condition, making your hair more brittle and weak, which eventually leads to hair loss,’’ says Dr. Zeel.

woman removing hair from shower drain

In 2017, an online survey estimated that around 49% of women go for hair wash and blow-dry every day.

How Do You Know When Your Hair Needs A Wash?

The signs which indicate that your hair needs a wash are:

1. Your hair gets weighed down and looks lifeless due to product build-up.

2. Your scalp and hair become greasy with the accumulated dirt and oils.

3. Your hair gets tangled a lot due to the buildup of oil, sweat, products used, etc.

4. Your hair texture tends to change.

5. Your scalp and hair may start emitting an unpleasant smell.

When you start experiencing any of the above symptoms, then it’s definitely time to wash your hair.

How Often Should You Wash Your Hair As Per Ayurveda?

Before narrowing down to the right frequency of your hair wash, it is crucial to understand and evaluate certain factors that may influence your scalp and hair health as per Ayurveda.

Factors To Consider To Determine Your Hair Wash Frequency

1. Ayurvedic Hair Type

As per Ayurveda, each individual is a combination of tri doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, the vital energies which govern bodily functions. And, the dominant force or dosha in the innate Prakriti of an individual determines the physical features, including the hair type of that individual.

A. Vata Hair Type

People with dominant Vata dosha have a Vata hair type, which tends to be fine with rough hair texture and high porosity. Vata type has lower sebum production and the scalp and hair are more prone to dryness, frizziness, and split ends. Ayurveda recommends washing your hair every three or four days if you have a Vata hair type. You can limit your hair wash to once a week if your scalp and hair are extremely dry.

B. Pitta Hair Type

People with dominant Pitta dosha have Pitta hair type, which tends to have medium thickness, with a smooth texture and normal porosity. Pitta type has medium sebum production while the scalp and hair are more prone to scalp inflammation, scalp folliculitis, premature greying, and clogged follicles with bacteria build-up. Ayurveda recommends washing your hair every two days if you have a Pitta hair type.

C. Kapha Hair Type

People with dominant Kapha dosha have Kapha hair type, which tends to have a coarse structure with lustrous texture and lower porosity. Kapha type has higher sebum production while the scalp and hair are more prone to oily dandruff and greasy scalp with itching. Ayurveda recommends washing your hair on alternative days if you have Kapha hair type.

2. Ingredients Of Hair Cleansers

By understanding your Ayurvedic hair type, you can also pick the most suitable herbal shampoos that balance your scalp pH, while maintaining your dosha equilibrium.

A. For Vata hair type, it is best to choose a shampoo with herbal ingredients that have highly hydrating and conditioning properties.

B. For Pitta hair type, it is best to choose a shampoo with herbal ingredients that has anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and scalp soothing properties.

C. For Kapha hair type, it is best to choose a shampoo with herbal ingredients that has greater saponin and anti-microbial properties.

"In general, you can wash your hair twice or thrice a week when you use hair cleansers with the right ingredients based on your Ayurvedic hair type," says Dr. Zeel.

3. Other External Factors

You may need to wash your hair more often during the following conditions in your day-to-day life:

A. When you hit the gym every day or are actively involved in any kind of physical exertion.

B. If you live in highly populated regions where the traffic and pollution levels are high.

C. When you are involved in messy tasks like gardening, dusting, car washing, etc.

D. If you use styling products like gels, hair sprays, etc. more frequently.

woman using hair spray on curly hair

How Much Is Too Much Washing Of Your Hair?

The signs which indicate that you are washing your hair too much are:

1. Your hair becomes dryer, brittle, and extremely frizzy.

2. You may notice scalp flaking a lot due to dryness.

3. You cannot brush your hair smoothly as your cuticles stay open.

4. Your hair color fades quickly.

5. Extreme dryness due to over-washing triggers your scalp to overproduce sebum [4] and oils as a replacement. This eventually leads to clogging of follicles, inflammation, and scalp infections.

What Happens If You Stop Washing Your Hair?

If you completely stop washing your hair, then the trapped dirt, dead skin, oils, sweat, and product build-up clog your scalp follicles over time. This eventually leads to a smelly scalp along with hair thinning and hair loss.

Also, your scalp may develop a variety of infections like extreme dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis, ringworm [5], etc.

What Happens To Your Hair If You Don't Use A Shampoo?

Shampoos [6] contain surfactants that are responsible for the cleansing action on your scalp. If you don’t use shampoo during your hair wash, the greasy dirt and excessive oils don’t get lifted from your scalp and hair shaft, resulting in inefficient cleaning. To avoid the risks caused by harsh chemicals, you can opt for mild or Ayurvedic shampoos.

Vedix Tip: As per Ayurveda, scrubbing your scalp and hair with herbal powders like triphala churna, brahmi powder or amla powder is the best way to clean.

How Can You Skip Your Hair Wash Day?

There can be days when your tight schedules prevent you from allocating a good amount of time for a proper hair wash. During such days, you can skip your hair wash by relying upon dry shampoos.

Dry shampoos [7] instantly absorb the oil and dirt buildup on your hair. However, it is not as effective as the process of regular hair wash using shampoo and water. Also, avoid using dry shampoos that make your hair heavy and sticky. Limit its use to emergency situations only as over usage can damage your hair.

Important Note: Ensure that your regular conventional shampoo or dry shampoo is free of sulfates and parabens.

The Last Word

Wrongful hair washing may result in dandruff, scalp irritation, and other scalp problems. Also, your scalp and hair health depends not only on the frequency of your hair wash but also on the products you use. While chemical-laden shampoos and conditioners may lead to unknown side effects, Ayurveda brings you natural herbal hair cleansers which keep your scalp pH levels in balance without any risks.

At Vedix, we formulate a customized Ayurvedic hair care regimen for you based on your unique dosha hair type and hair problems.

Know Your Dosha Now